Tourists come to Malta to enjoy the sun from anything but sandy beaches (there are a few small ones, but not many). But people also come to explore the rich history, visit the fantastic historical sites, go on different boating-tours and engage in water sports. Malta is a small island-nation in the Mediterranean sea; it’s situated about as far south as you can get within the EU. Sicily, to the north of Malta, looks large on the map, and Libya is just 330 km away.
Peak-season for tourism is in July and August. Although there are very few tourists around in the winter, the weather is still mild and nice with temperatures around 17 degrees Celsius.
General Attitude and Regulation
Malta is a truly dog-friendly place in every sense of the word. The general attitude towards dogs is very friendly and dogs can come along to many places.
The people in Malta have a lovely attitude towards dogs, and to life in general it seems. They love dogs, and you don’t encounter many people who are scared of dogs.
Did you ever think you would be jealous of your dog? Jealous of a wonderful yet not very smart creature who doesn’t have much power to get their way? I certainly never thought I would ever feel that way, but in Malta I felt borderline-jealous of my dog. He got so many smiles from strangers, happy hello’s, warm pets, cuddles, and other types positive attention from complete strangers on the street. It would have been nice if also I got so much love from strangers on the street.
Surprisingly (and not very wisely), people rarely asked me, the owner, if it was ok to pet my dog. Usually, people just made eye-contact with my dog and put down their hand to pet him.
On Malta, it’s the law to pick up after your dog and to keep him/her on a leash at all times. Fines for not doing so are quite high and people really follow the picking-up law, which is nice.
However, finding dog-pickup bags was not extremely easy when we visited the island. The bags are only sold in pet-shops (not in supermarkets) and were out of stock everywhere when we tried to find them. So, it could be a good idea to stock up on bags when you find them.
The people in Malta follow the on-leash law to a very large extent. You never see dogs off-leash in busy areas, and there are no stray dogs on the island.
Despite the law, locals often let their dogs free on the exciting waterfront. There one can find caves, calm little puddles in rock-cavities, newly washed ashore sponges, violently splashing sea-water, picnickers, joggers, people taking selfies with the blue sea as a back-drop and many more exciting things for dogs.
Most hotels in Malta don’t accept pets in the rooms. However, if you rent an apartment through one of the several short-stay apartment rental companies, you will be able to find a suitable place to stay.
Unfortunately, we need to put out a warning for the Hilton in Paceville. They are listed as a dog-friendly hotel, and by all means, you are allowed to rent a room for yourself and your dog. But, your dog must stay in the room as it is not allowed in any of the common areas of the hotel, not even the outdoor terrace restaurant.
Where Dogs are Welcome
Dogs are welcome in most places in Malta including restaurants, public transportation and shops, and even in super-markets if they are carried.
My dog was welcome in the vast majority of restaurants we visited. We enjoyed the delicious Maltese food at low-budget restaurants as well as the food in upper mid-range restaurants.
Pompe got warm welcomes to the restaurants, and nearly every time he got some water without me asking for it.
Far more than once, the restaurant-servers surprised my dog by giving him some delicious restaurant-meat. When adding it all up, even I am astonished! During 3 weeks in Malta, Pompe was given the following delicacies at restaurants: Grilled chicken, juicy kebab, different sausages, salami, fresh ribs and even a chicken pie which is a Maltese specialty. I can honestly say that my dog loves Malta and the warm, loving people there.
On Malta’s Public Transport website one can read that the corporate policy is that dogs are allowed if they are carried or placed in suitable containers. However, one should not see it as a hard rule, but rather a guide-line.
Dogs are allowed onto busses if the particular driver is of the opinion that the particular dog won’t disturb the other passengers. We met owners of small dogs who were refused onto buses, and owners of large dogs who were fine.
Dogs are also welcome on the bus-tour Hop on Hop off that tours the island.
Dogs are not allowed in the many museums and historical sites, but are allowed in most other places. You and your dog will love to discover Malta’s unique nature together and your dog can come along on boat trips and participate in some water sports.
Dogs are allowed onto a few of the sandy beaches and virtually all rocky beaches.
The storms on the island are truly amazing! If you are on the island when there is a storm, I highly recommend going to one of the many seaside restaurants. Get a glass of wine and look at the roaring sea splash against the windows.
As the little island of Malta is situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the winds can become very strong and the waves reach frightening height. The waves come crashing against the yellow limestone rocks and the spray reaches several stories high.
Discovering the culture
The Maltese people are friendly and welcoming to tourists. Their laid-back Mediterranean culture is well worth exploring by engaging in small conversations with the locals at restaurants and at the harbor. English is one of the official languages on Malta, so the clear majority of people speak it quite well.
Boat tours are one of the most appreciated tourist attractions in Malta. The most popular tours are the harbor boat tours and the Gozo-Comino boat tours. Several companies sell tickets for these tours at the harbor in Sliema, and dogs are welcome by most tour companies at no extra charge.
Pompe enjoyed being on the sea, he loved feeling the fresh sea breeze. He also liked taking a swim in the crystal clear blue waters of the famous blue lagoon (one of the stops on the Gozo-Camino tour). However, he was less impressed by the large seaside caves than the humans on the tour were in awe about.
Visitors can easily access many different water sports in Malta include wave surfing, diving, sea kayaking, SUP, and waterskiing. Many companies offer diving courses and kayak trips to remote places and hidden caves.
Visitors can take kayaking trips between March and October. We have been told that tourists can only take guided kayak tours, they can’t rent kayaks and go on their own. Pompe and I have not yet joined a tour, but we plan to. Pompe’s safety vest is packed. If you don’t have a safety vest for your dog we recommend getting one before the trip to Malta. The selection of different retail items is smaller on this little island than in many other places.
Although there is not a lot of foraml dog meet-up opportunities, you won’t have a problem finding doggy-friends on Malta for your best friend.
There is a nice dog park in San Gwann where you will most certainly meet other dogs.
You can easily find other dogs and dog owners to meet up with for dog-play sessions. You just need to head to one of the many rocky beaches or one of the rare green parks, and you will most likely find several dogs with their owners. The Maltese people are open and friendly, so you will have a good time with the owners while your dogs run in circles, having fun with together.
There is also a very helpful Facebook-group called Dog Friendly Malta that posts good information for dog-owners on Malta.